Spectrum L-N

Spectrum

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 Laser Squad – By Target Games

Laser Squad is brilliant and one of my favourite games in the Spectrum of any genre. I can still play it for hours today. Written by Julian Gollop of Chaos and Rebelstar fame on the Speccy, and the UFO games on the PC and Playstation, Laser Squad was a culmination of the gameplay and programming skills Julian had acquired over his previous games. Didn’t like the way enemies were visible in Rebelstar and the lack of missions? Here it was corrected – line of sight visibility and 4 varied missions with another 3 available in an extra pack. Each mission saw the player start out by equipping his team with weapons and armour. You were then able to place your team on the map at specific locations. Tool your boys up and it’s off to complete whatever destructive mission you are on. These vary from rescuing some imprisoned colleagues to assassinating a dubious arms manufacturer. All the maps are sufficiently different to make the game feel fresh. There is also a good variety of weapons, grenades and other equipment, much more than in similar games from the Spectrum at the time. Information regarding remaining action points, movement and statistics is all presented clearly, making the game easily accessible, in addition to its long term appeal. Overall, a Speccy strategy classic that still bears up incredibly well today.

Review by jdanddiet

10/10

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 Light Force – By FTL

I remember seeing the screenshots of Light Force in Crash magazine and being totally blown away. This was a shoot em up with arcade graphics that I could play at home on my Speccy! In fact all the magazines raved about Light Force and indeed it was a delight to play, although not without its flaws. The games is a vertical scroller with your odd-shaped spacecraft firing twin volleys of fire at a time. From above would come assorted space craft and enemies (including the ubiquitous funny shapes) as well as impervious asteroids and space stations which could be shot for bonuses. The much-vaunted graphics of Light Force were achieved by using character blocks instead of pixels, thus avoiding any colour clash. This meant nice graphics, but the game suffered a bit in the playability department for it. Your spacecraft’s fire could also not hit anything just in front of it which got quite frustrating at times. Overall Light Force is a fun shooter that was slightly overrated at the time when the majority of Speccy shooters were two-colour affairs.

Review by jdanddiet

7/10

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 Lirus - World of Spectrum

The homebrew scene of the humble Speccy never fails to amaze me. And thanks to communities like World of Spectrum, the games that wouldn’t normally see the light of day gets released for us fans to play and enjoy. A great title that was released this year is a quirky shoot’em up called Lirus, which was developed by Denis Grachev and Friends. The game was created back in 1998 and this year has undergone some major restoration to add some brand new levels and ideas. The game is quite a simple concept but very addictive with you piloting a ship which is the last line of defence against a self-replicating virus that is taking over the level. Being an arcade style shooter released on the ZX spectrum the design of the game might appear simple, but the gameplay is awesome. Using blocks to make up the level, the virus and the ship seems to work very well for Lirus and definitely adds a lot of character. There lots of levels for you to navigate and have fun destroying the virus that wants to fill the whole level up. You do get lots of ammo which is good as this is a game that if you stop shooting or moving for more than 5 seconds you will end up dead. Included in the release is a 48K and 128K version and a party edition, which includes some great music and a killer loading screen. Download this and you will not be disappointed.

Review by acoolgeek77

9/10

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 Mined-Out – By Quicksilva

Programmed by Ian Andrew – who would go on to create the famous software house Incentive – Mined-out is a simple puzzle game and a precursor to the Windows classic Minesweeper. Starting at the foot of the screen, the player must guide their avatar (a simple block) to the opposite side. Each movement gives the player an indication of how many mines surround the current position often resulting in a lot of backtracking and thought on how to pick your way through the minefield. Later levels introduce further hazards such as moving walls and enemies that hound the player. Mined-out is a great example of how to play test a game. It’s obvious Ian Andrew went through each level, deviously adding tricks to surprise and test the player just when they think they have mastered the game. The graphics are extremely simple but the game is fiendishly addictive. And yes, those are boobies in bubbles on the cassette inlay!

Review by jdanddiet

7/10

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 Myth: History in the Making – By System 3

Released fairly late in the Spectrum’s life (1989), System 3’s Myth showed what you could still do with the old girl provided you put a bit of effort into it. As the name suggests, it takes a few old famous myths such as the Norse Legends and Ancient Greece and shoehorns them into a time-travelling hero-type plot. At heart Myth is a flick screen platform game, but it was also so much more than that. Your character can fire fireballs and perform some quite acrobatic moves, and there is also a smattering of puzzles to solve. The graphics are lovely with a fair dab of colour and some very impressive animation. Apart from a slightly anti-climactic ending, Myth is a superb game.

Review by jdanddiet

9/10

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 Navy Moves – By Dinamic

First there was Army Moves. Then there was Game Over. Finally, Dinamic inflicted the worst of all on us, the ridiculously, frustratingly, annoyingly tough Navy Moves. The first part of Navy Moves has you piloting a dinghy from left to right, jumping over mines placed in the sea. To give you an idea of how difficult this first section of Navy Moves is, I can tell you it took me over an hour – using desperate save state short cut keys - to progress more than 2 scrolling screens – and a grand total of five mines! The ensuing level contains many more mines, with the practice required well beyond me in the cold light of 1987. The silly thing about Navy Moves, however, is that the game actually gets easier! Once past this initial stage, you enter a flick-screen type game set on the enemy submarine. This is infinitely less frustrating, making it even stranger that 99.99% of gamers would have reset their Speccy long before then! It’s such a shame that Dinamic had this bizarre difficulty curve, as most of their efforts looked good.

Review by jdanddiet

4/10

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 Ninja – By Entertainment USA

There were many beat em ups on the Speccy and this was a bargain bucket one from budget label Mastertronic. It was flick screen with multiple enemies on each one, all who had to be taken out to progress to the next level. Unusually, Ninja was also open world, such as the world was. You could travel between screens and levels freely, although after the opposing Ninjas had been despatched there was little reason to. Ninja is a fast–paced game that’s reasonable fun for a while. As with many budget titles, however, it has no real long-term value to it, and some dodgy graphics to boot!

Review by jdanddiet

5/10

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